There is a lot to see and do in Alberta. The sixth-largest Canadian province is famous for its expansive parks, plentiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and high-quality living in some of the most diverse communities in the country. However, many people aren’t aware that Alberta has some of the best mountain biking trails in all of Canada. Whether you’re a pro or an amateur biker, there’s a route for everyone! With its diverse landscapes, ranging from forested areas to rocky plateaus and rolling hills, there are plenty of trails to choose from. In addition, the province has a well-developed cycling infrastructure that makes it easy to find safe and scenic routes. If you’re a mountain biker looking for Alberta real estate options, you can check out some properties near these five places. Be sure to check your saddle and be ready for some of the best mountain biking Canada has to offer!
Jasper National Park
What you will learn in this Article
Home to what might be the best mountain biking trail system in the world, Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. This gorgeous natural area stretches for over 11,000 kilometres. It is part of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site and one of the best places to mountain biking in Alberta during Summertime.
Cyclists love Jasper National Park’s trail system because of its well-connected, well-kept trails, excellent to get up close and personal with nature while still avoiding the crowds. The trail system is divided into two main hubs:
- Across the River: An area that features easy, family-friendly trails perfect for beginners, meaning even if you haven’t read our mountain biking safety guide, you’re probably ok. You don’t have to worry about slipping on roots or rocks here because the trails are broad and flat. Some suggested routes here are Lake Edith Shoreline Loop, Woodpecker and Trail 7 Loop, and Moberly Homestead. All of these have an easy climb difficulty level.
- Pyramid Bench: Here is where you’ll find more challenging trails. This is ideal for bikers who feel confident in their riding abilities. The paths in this hub are generally more difficult, with roots, rocks, and several steep climbs and descents along the way. Suggested routes with moderate climb difficulty are Cabin Lake Fire Road Loop and Cottonwood Slough Loop. For hard climbing, Mina-Riley Blitz is a great alternative and worth double-checking your v-brakes and other gear before launching out..
Most Jasper National Park trails are multi-use, which means you will be asked to follow specific rules while sharing them with other park goers. Also, bike bear-aware since the park is home to black and grizzly bears and there have been frequent and sudden encounters with humans. Jasper National Park has free admission for youth 17 and under, and adults pay a daily fee of $10.50. You can bring your own bike, but there are several options on the premises if you need to rent one.
West Bragg Creek
No Alberta biking list is complete without Bragg (and Banff).West Bragg Creek has become Western Canada’s mountain bike mecca. Located around 10 kilometres west of the tiny but lovely hamlet of Bragg Creek, the area makes a 45-minute drive southwest of Calgary. Here, the Bragg Creek Trails (BTC), a group dedicated to making the outdoors more accessible for all, is in charge of maintaining around 166 kilometres of multi-purpose trails on the Rocky Mountain’s foothill.
Some of the most popular trails in West Bragg Creek are Braggin Rights, Merlin View, Ranger Summit, and Strange Brew. The landscape is mostly smooth and rolling, with trees including aspen and evergreens that have been cleared in portions opening up stunning panoramic views. Creeks, springs, and marshes provide additional interest to the surroundings.
This area has both a summer trail network and a winter trail network so that you can enjoy bike riding every season. In addition, all the trails, paths, and routes have markers and maps at essential junctures, making it nearly impossible to get lost in West Bragg Creek. Happy riding!
Banff National Park
Another primer location for mountain biking in Alberta is the Banff National Park. This is Canada’s first national park and a centrepiece of the country’s park system. Banff features some of the world’s most beautiful mountains, glacial lakes of beautiful turquoise colour, and unique wildlife. Explore the region by bicycle on a vast network of trails, passing through stunning scenery and crystal clear lakes and glaciers.
With over 360 kilometres of cycling routes available in this beautiful region, biking is a fun, healthy method to explore. If you are looking for a bucket-list cycling experience in Alberta, you should try these routes. They have stunning mountain vistas, flowing curves, and all the challenges you crave:
- Spray River East and West Trail: If mountain biking riverside is your thing, the Spray River East and West trail will quickly become one of your favourites. The trail is wide and traverses the forest with rolling hills and soft curves. It is a top choice for beginners, children, and those looking for a moderate adventure. It’s a fantastic family excursion, and it includes the ideal picnic spot near the Spray River bridge. When cycling, be on the lookout for other users — this route is also utilised by horseback riders and is a wildlife corridor.
- Hoodoos Viewpoint to Surprise Corner: A total must-do, this mountain ride is located across from Tunnel Mountain Campground. The trail features some lengthy climbs and descents, moves through an open meadow and follows along riverside pathways. During the ride, bikers take in breathtaking vistas of Spray Valley, Mount Rundle, and the famous Fairmont Banff Springs over Bow Falls.
- Lake Minnewanka Trail and Topp Notch Trail: These two trails are perfect for adventurous mountain bikers. The Lake Minnewanka hike is best done early in the spring or late fall to avoid potential closures. On the other hand, The Topp Notch is a gem of a spot with natural and constructed components that provide an unrivalled flow. Once you’ve descended, loop around on the Tunnel Technical Trails for another adrenaline-pump ride.
Rocky Mountain House
Rocky Mountain House is a total hidden gem in west-central Alberta. The quaint town is full of history, gorgeous scenery, and a wide array of activities, including mountain biking in around 5.6 kilometres of well-maintained paved and biking trails. The trails criss-cross commercial and residential areas in town, and there are several spots to park the car and start pedalling. Helen Hunley Memorial Park is one of the top choices, but there’s also Cutis Field. Riding in this area is an unforgettable experience, with lush greenery and amazing panoramic views of the North Saskatchewan River along the whole journey.
Another popular spot for mountain bikers in Alberta is Baseline Mountain, located in Clearwater County, about 60 kilometres southwest of Rocky Mountain House. Here, you have dozens of trails taken care of by the Baseline Mountain Club, with routes that go from intermediate through “crazy to try” in difficulty.
Known as “Alberta’s mountain playground,” Kananaskis Country comprises more than 4,000 kilometres of mountain foothills and parks. Kananaskis is located west of Calgary, bounding Canmore and Banff National Park. Five provincial parks, one ecological reserve, four wildland provincial parks, and a number of recreational areas are part of Kananaskis Country. The Canmore Nordic Centre is also nearby.
With such a collection of natural areas and parks, adventure is the norm here, and mountain biking is a top recreational option for active Albertans. People travel from all across the province for an epic single track ride. The Kananaskis trails are among the best ones in southern Alberta, and the most popular ones are in the moderate-hard range on difficulty level. Let’s take a closer look at two of them:
- Moosepackers Loop: This is a Kananaskis classic loop that’s been around since the ’80s and combines seven different trails. The loop covers 16 miles, is almost 100% singletrack and is ideal for experienced bikers. Depending on your skill level, the entire loop can take 2.5 to 4 hours to complete.
- Ridge Ranger Loop: Perfect for mountain bikers of intermediate level, this trail provides several unique singletrack paths in the Station Flats area, but they don’t form obvious loops. The ride brought some of them together, with just over 1 kilometre of road riding to finish the loop. Replace the nearby Bobcat Trail with Snakes & Ladders Trail for a more extended variation of this route (6 extra kilometres) and enjoy!
Best Places to Mountain Bike in Alberta
Alberta has a lot of great outdoor activities, and mountain biking is high in rank. Whether you’re in search of an easy ride or a more challenging one, Alberta has it all. Next time you want to get away from it all, pack your safety gear and your bike, then go riding on one of these amazing Alberta trails!